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The Selfie

Whenever I see a photo of myself taken by someone else I have a massive shock. This isn’t something new, or something that is age related. Obviously I no longer look as good as I used to, and I wouldn’t expect to come across as a glamour puss in photos. And like I said, it isn’t a new thing anyway, I have had this experience for decades. The shock has less to do with how I look in these snaps than it has to do with my expression. Really really sour. Bad tempered. A very nasty old woman stares back at me. I do not have any illusions that I am an angel. I do not think of myself as particularly good natured. But this? Do I really face the world like this, I ask myself. But then there is this other thing: There are also videos of me giving presentations at conferences. And when I look at those I do not come across as this very ill natured person at all. When I watch myself in motion what I see there gels with my self-perception. They do reflect how I think of myself. Scurrilous – yes, but also humorous. Animated – not this frozen evil mask. But, candid shots of me really shake me up. I always have to ask people not to take photos of me, so very few photos of me actually exist. I am always stuck when people ask me for a photo to put on a website or a catalog.

So, now that I finally have the phone camera I stood in the middle of my kitchen – no particularly good lighting or anything like that and took a snap. The first few came out strange because I hadn’t yet figured out that you need to look above the camera in order to actually be looking at the camera. If you look straight at the camera you appear to be looking down. So, I tried looking up and ended up looking at the ceiling. But then I finally managed to take a decent one.

So what is it in me, what strange fear, that makes me freeze up into this sour person whenever someone points a camera at me? And why is it that when I point a camera at myself whatever it is that freezes me up is no longer an issue? A question that probably goes to the heart of who I am. Some really deep seated insecurity, a fear of facing myself…


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